Gov. Tim Walz addressed Minnesotans on Friday March 13th about the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Part of what Gov. Walz and the Minnesota Department of Health called for was for schools NOT to close at that time. In response to Gov. Walz press conference, Faribault Public Schools responded with the following plan. 

"In accordance with the recommendation by the Minnesota Department of Health on March 13, Faribault Public Schools will remain open as the state continues to evaluate how to best combat the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The MDH cited the importance of continuity of education and student access to nutrition among the reasons to keep schools open as we navigate this public health crisis. Additionally, children age 19 or younger are at the lowest risk of any age group (2 percent of cases) of contracting COVID-19, and studies found that states and nations that have closed schools for long periods of time have seen no difference in infection rate.

Based on this data, we encourage all students who are symptom-free and did not leave the country over spring break, to continue to come to school. We suggest that any students experiencing symptoms or who left the country over spring break self-quarantine for two weeks and return to school on March 30. If you choose to self-quarantine your student, please notify your school immediately so they can create a learning plan for your student.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever, and in severe cases, difficulty breathing. While we understand that this pandemic health situation is causing a rise in concern, MDH continues to emphasize the best things we can all do to prevent the spread of the virus are:

● Encourage frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Remind your student and model frequent handwashing in your home and workplace.
● Make sure to cover coughs and sneezes.
● Use your own water bottle.
● Stay home from work and school until fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication.

STAFF

We also suggest that any staff members who are experiencing symptoms or who left the country over spring break self-quarantine until March 30. Staff can contact human resources director Nicole Yochum at nyochum@faribault.k12.mn.us for more information.

EVENT CANCELLATIONS

All school-sponsored evening activities at Faribault Public Schools are canceled or postponed until further notice. This includes all band and choir concerts, plays, and field trips. Athletic teams and after-school clubs can continue to practice until further notice. The Minnesota State High School League has canceled the remainder of winter activities and spring sports can’t compete with other member schools until April 6.

E-LEARNING DAYS

The district is prepared to implement our e-learning plan in case schools need to be closed for a period of time. If a longer-term closure is implemented by the state, we will adjust the plan to meet the changing conditions for our students. Go to our website (faribault.k12.mn.us) for more information on Falcon Learning and Connecting Days.

SCHOOL SANITATION

We employ strategic disinfectant procedures during the influenza season. The same cleaning strategies that we use to limit influenza transmission are effective in combating COVID-19. These include frequent disinfecting of surfaces that we can use to quickly and safely sanitize classrooms on a regular schedule. Sodexo is also taking precautions to reduce the potential for cross-contamination in lunchrooms.

We will also continue to emphasize regular hand-washing throughout the day. Mobile hand sanitizer stations have been ordered for each building.

MONITORING FOR CORONAVIRUS INCIDENTS

The MDH has primary responsibility for the overall monitoring of Minnesota residents who may be exposed to the Coronavirus. We continue to develop our response plan based on the recommendations of the MDH, Governor Walz, and the Minnesota Department of Education.

If you have additional questions about COVID-19, you can call the health department’s coronavirus hotline at 651-201-3920. You will continue to receive updates from the school district as we monitor this rapidly-changing health event. We appreciate your patience and cooperation as we work to maintain a safe and healthy educational environment for our students, staff and families."

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